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Thursday, August 27, 2015
Current Affairs ... Politics ...

If you read the latest headlines on the national political front, you might think that Hillary Clinton is in trouble. And you might be right. The voters don’t trust her, and things could get even worse depending on what the FBI finds (or doesn’t find) on her e-mail server. Although the vote is still months away, recent polls hint that Clinton could lose the New Hampshire primary to Bernie Sanders. That would not be a good way to start the primary season.

So, it’s looking a bit less likely that Hillary will be the our next President, although it’s not yet to the point of being a lost cause. Perhaps the most cogent insight regarding this topic is that Barack Obama may well be the king or queen-maker; if Obama decides that he wants someone other than Hillary to “carry on his legacy” (say V.P. Joe Biden), Obama could have the FBI and Department of Justice throw the book at Hillary for any petty regulation that she may have violated regarding government records management (something like what they did with David Petraeus). So, we shall see what Barack decides. For now, he seems to be giving Joe Biden a great big “MAYBE”.

On the GOP side, however — the Republican faithful seems to have lost all faith in the “deep bench” of viable candidates that they have. I.e., Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz . . . since the first GOP debate, the three candidates who have picked up the most interest and the most support in the national polls are Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina — three people who have never held public office. It doesn’t seem likely that they would be able to win in November 2016 — the most recent Fox news polls showing Trump and Fiorina being beaten by Clinton by significant margins, despite Clinton’s growing troubles. Still, a slew of recent state polls for early GOP primaries (Iowa, New Hampshire, Iowa, Florida, Pennsylvania) all have Donald Trump maintaining the lead, despite his never ending over-the-top statements. Trump may not burn out as quickly as originally expected.

According to conservative analyst Erick Erickson, the GOP grassroots is swooning for Donald Trump because the Establishment made a lot of promises to their base and never kept them; they never even listened to them to begin with. Hmmm, it sounds like the GOP elders made promises that they couldn’t keep. Which is just what politicians do, with the expectation that no one will take them to task for it. For whatever reason, the GOP faithful appear to have decided to stage a revolt against politics-as-usual. At the same time, more and more Democrats are finding their only viable candidate to be revolting (and at the same time, find a totally nonviable candidate, Bernie Sanders, to be more and more appealing).

So, it looks like the only viable candidate for 2015 is NOBODY. Or, at least nobody who has held office before. This really is starting to look like a revolution. But perhaps more of a slow-motion revolution, as we don’t have any French Revolution scenes with cries urging the people on to the Bastille. Still, the smell of emotion is in the air. And I find that a bit scary.

When you look to the past and review the results of the major historical revolutions, the immediate results are usually not good. Sure, you can find some benign revolutions — such as what happened here in the 1770’s, such a proud part of our nation’s history and heritage. But for every one that turns out relatively good (yes, I know that the racial justice issues from slavery are still not fully resolved), there seem to be more than one revolution where things get out of hand and a rather terrible form of leadership soon emerges. That is, until that leadership is ultimately deposed through a counter-revolution; unfortunately, that counter-revolution process can take quite a while, as in Russia and Iran. Iran is still waiting, and although Communism is dead in Russia, Vladimir Putin isn’t. The ghosts of Lenin and 1917 still haunt Moscow and St. Petersburg today.

Once again, the 2016 presidential campaign situation will not bring crowds with pitchforks and tanks into the streets. Still, the stage may be set for a rather volatile and unpredictable situation where a Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders presidency is not entirely unimaginable, and they actually try to do what they currently promise to do. As such, if either were to be elected, the American political mechanism would experience years of paroxysm; the slow motion revolution could become slow-motion civil war. The divisions that we now complain of between red vs. blue states and GOP vs. Democrats would seem like a pillow fight, if this new “revolutionary purist” spirit has its way. Somehow, I don’t think such a scenario would be good for our country.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 9:11 am      

  1. Jim, I can’t say I disagree with anything you say here, I almost have no comment as you’ve about said it all.

    I sometimes think that there’s just too much information around these days. Back in 1960 when Kennedy was running for president, if all that was kept quiet about his life had been known by everyone the way things are 55+ years later, I’m sure he’d not have been made president, and he would not be the idol he is now. (Well, so it seems to me.) I would say the same thing about Reagan: If his Alzheimer’s had become known earlier than it was (because most surely it had to have started long before it was made public), much of his “legacy” would be dismissed.

    One thing I find myself intrigued by that Trump has said more than once: He simply gave money (and lots of it) any time a politician picked up a phone and asked him for some. Thus, he gained influence and power on both the GOP and Dem sides. I find that to be a “what’s wrong with this picture?” question when it comes to politics in general. I also find myself wondering if Trump truly has a grass roots movement or if he’s got a movement based on, “hey, I gave money to you; you owe me what I want now.”

    In the end I have no clue about any GOP person I’d really like to see run. Most of them I’ve never heard of, to be honest; or I know extremely little about any of them. But maybe I should “adjust” that statement a bit: Christie might be an interesting prez; but I don’t know him well enough. In some ways it’s the “ordinary guy” aspect of him that I tend to like; however, you certainly must know more about him than I do. I do not see you praising him to the skies. Thus, I am cautious about him.

    Re the Dems: Well, it’s a toss-up for me: I like Biden as I think he’s been very helpful in a lot of good ways to Obama. There’s no way I think Obama has, without Biden’s help, been the good prez. I see him as a very poor president without Biden’s behind-the-scenes help. I like guys who are not the kind who want to push themselves in front of people; I like guys who will sit behind the scenes, being most useful in an “unknown” way, all the while making the rest look good. (Somewhat like Eric Clapton often did in the past – or maybe still does: Hangs in the back, playing guitar, making the rest of the band look good, but not pushing himself into the forefront.) Biden’s like that, I think.

    I like Hillary as I think she did a bang-up job as Secretary of State. Yet, her husband could be an albatross around her neck. But then again, one *needs* someone who is a good politician as president; and both the Clintons are excellent politicians.

    Jimmy Carter’s been in the news recently because of his serious illness. He was and is a very good man; I doubt they come much better than he. *However*, as president he was not a good president – too morally good a person. He didn’t know when to “stop” being a good man and let the politician take over. And, I guess, yes, here I’m saying that by definition a politician is most likely a “not good” person.

    I expand that somewhat in the same sense when I think of bishops, archbishops, cardinals, pope, etc. No matter how good they are, I will always say that if they got as far as bishop, there’s more politician in them than priest or shepherd of the people.

    I realize I’m digressing, but I’m including Pope Francis here too. If he stays the good man he is, he’ll somewhere along the line resign. I’ve found myself at times re-thinking Pope Benedict XVI for resigning. And I digress, but there’s a comparison here that I think is valid.

    Thus, you will not get an argument from me regarding any one person I would *really* like to see president. But you *will* get a comment from me about one I do *not* want to see president – Trump. Save us all from him! MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — August 27, 2015 @ 2:37 pm

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